Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Top 5 Discoveries of 2009

I've already posted my top 5 songs of the year but here are some more obscure or at least lesser-known non-hits that I've enjoyed as much (in fact more - there's nothing like unearthing a gem that few others seem to know about).

Well OK I didn't discover them really - I relied on excellent sites like NPR and Pop Justice which both do "song of the day" features. Nevertheless I did manage to find some great pop music that hasn't hit the charts or yet become mainstream. Here are my favourite tracks that haven't been hits yet but which I've enjoyed enormously (and played a lot).

The Raveonettes - "Boys Who Rape Should All Be Destroyed" (post "A great song for lovers of pop (and haters of rapists)")
Hurts - "Wonderful Life" (post "Hurts - a Pet Shop Boys for the 90s?")
Eels - "That look you gave that guy"
The Wonder Girls - "Nobody" (post "I Wonder what happened to the Wonder Girls")
Dragonette - Easy (post "This Week's selection was Easy")

Best 5 pop songs of 2009

Thought I'd publish two "Top 5 Songs of 2009" lists - one of my favourite chart hits and a second of my favourite "discoveries" (songs from lesser-known artists that were new to me). The discoveries are in the next post. The best mainstream hits of the year are all by female artists which I think reflects the way the industry has been going the last couple of years (or maybe it's just me). If you look at the way Lady GaGa has been the artist of the year and how Kesha and Miley have done so well in the younger end of the market, I think it's fair to see Girls ruled in 2009.

My favourite 5 Chart Hits of 2009
Keri Hilson - Knock You Down
Lady GaGa - Bad Romance (Post I think I underestimated Lady Gaga)
Beyonce - Halo
Paloma Faith - New York
Kesha - Tik Tok (post 2 songs that got away)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A great song for everyone who likes original pop music (and hates rapists)

I stumbled across a song called "Boys Who Rape Should All Be Destroyed" by the Raveonettes and am playing it all the time.


I didn't think it was mainstream enough to pick for my site "The Best New Pop Song of the Week" but maybe I should because it is a brilliant, instantly likeable and original song. Despite the title being a little on the unusual side it is actually a very accessible pop song. There is a lot of distortion going on reminding me of a Jesus and Mary Chain song but also a very infectious melody. I hadn't heard of the band but they are a Danish duo based in NY and it seems contrasting an almost Spector-like pop sound with darker lyrics and themes is typical of their output. I like "Candy" which is on YouTube and found this download of a song called "Suicide" which also sounds good.

Suicide by the Raveonettes

English accountant Spain

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hurts - a Pet Shop Boys for the 2010s?

I made "Wonderful Life" by Hurts my pick for best pop song of the week and have no hesitation in recommending this excellent, classy track (although the silly girl dancing in the video rather lets the image down). I heard about this song ages ago on my favourite pop site PopJustice.com and there has been a fair bit of comment there and on blogs about this band, partly because the song is so good - it's going to be re-released in January with a big marketing push I suspect - but the buzz is partly about their appearance and style which hark back to the 80s new romantic glory days. No one can quite agree though as to which artists they most resemble in terms of both sound and image. For myself the vocal reminds me a bit of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" - not that it's falsetto like Jimmy Summerville's but it does share the same measured, almost standoffish and melancholic tone. As for the image I can't believe no one seems to see the Elephant in the room here - they are the new Pet Shop Boys. A British, electro-synth pop pairing of a charismatic frontman and a static, unsmiling keyboard player behind. Cmmmon! It can only be the PSB. I hope they produce 25 years of good music like them. If you haven't heard the single listen now - it's one of the best of the year.
(Spanish residency Spanish residency)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Killers slightly unusual festive offering

This week's best new pop song, very appropriately as we build up to Christmas, is "Happy Birthday Gudalupe" by The Killers. I have a few Christmas songs on my playlist right now - see previous post 2 good, 2 bad - but this is the most unusual. Not because it features Luke Perry with a beard in the video or because it seems to be a birthday rather than Christmas song or even because it's a charity record, but because it is so Hispanic-sounding. It seems odd to hear the Mariachi (Mexican) backing group's spanish guitars and trumpets instead of the usual Christmas sounds of chiming bells and uplifting choirs but it seems to work. The lead vocals of Brandon Flowers stamp it with Killers authenticity and the lyric "put your feet up, it's Christmas time" is a great seasonal message we can all relate to. It's a joyous holiday treat and I'm happy to recommend it on my site The Week's Best Pop Song.

Spanish driving licence Spanish driving licence

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Christmas songs - 2 good , 2 bad

It's that time of year when it seems like half of the music biz is trying to cash in on seasonal good cheer and bag a Xmas hit. You can hardly blame them as one sizeable hit can mean royalty cheques for a lifetime as they are re-hashed, re-released, crammed into endless compilation albums and used to sell us stuff. From what I have heard this year not too many stars will be drawing a pension from their Christmas offerings. The one exception could be "I Wish it Was Xmas Today" by Julian Casablancas which is catchy, offbeat and has the requisite bells. The Pet Shop Boys "It doesn't often snow at Christmas" is growing on me which is more than I can say for Rolf Harris' "Christmas in the Sun" which is simply atrocious (he is nearly 80). George Michael has re-released the underwhelming "December Song" with a very good animated video but the track itself does little for me. Any way he must still be coining it in from Last Christmas. Humbug.

NIE number Spain NIE number Spain
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